Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (390)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

390. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider changes and revisions to the SPHE curricula to provide for a greater level of assistance and support for children in relation to the issue of cyberbullying, its impact and consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32146/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Current Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curricula at primary and post-primary levels already provide students with the strategies and related knowledge to deal with bullying in all its forms including cyberbullying. The curricula aim to foster self-worth, self confidence and respectful relationships and place a particular emphasis on developing a sense of personal responsibility for one's own behaviour, feelings and actions.

The Mental Health Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools (2013) also promote the development and implementation of relevant policies including an anti-bullying policy and code of behaviour incorporating positive behaviour management strategies and the promotion of a 'telling' culture in schools.

I also published 'An Action Plan on Bullying' in January 2013. This Action Plan, which arises from the work of the Anti-Bullying Working Group, provides guidance to schools in the area of bullying, including cyber bullying.

The SPHE Support Service provides for whole-staff seminars on bullying prevention and intervention and policy review and development. The Support Service also provides for school-based anti-bullying support to include, for example, administration of a student survey, the provision of a parent evening and the development of strategies for resolving bullying issues.

The new Framework for Junior Cycle that I launched in October 2012 will build on this by placing a focus on the principle of Well Being and key skills such as Managing Myself and Staying Well. It also includes a Statement of Learning that requires that students will be enabled to take action to safeguard and promote their well-being and that of others. The NCCA is currently developing a short course in SPHE which will support schools in meeting this statement of learning.